HELENA – Helena police will begin counting the urban deer population next week.

Police Chief Troy McGee said that surveying begins Wednesday and will run through Oct. 6.

The annual count has been taking place for the last six years and looks to keep a manageable number of deer within the city limits. Chief McGee say the department works with Fish, Wildlife and Parks after the count to determine how many deer need to be removed each year.

“We have officers very late at night they’ll be driving around, spotlighting deer and counting them,” said McGee.  “We send those numbers to Fish, Wildlife and Parks and they have a statistician there that puts them together and tells us approximately how many deer we have in the city and they give us an approximate number of deer that we should remove to keep it at about 25 deer per square mile.”

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Chief McGee said since the removal program began in 2008, approximately 30,000 pounds of deer meat has been donated to Helena Food Share.

He said anyone who would like to share the location of a problem deer ahead of the survey can call the police department at 447-8479.

They have also put a post on the department Facebook page where you can comment with a location.